Justin Sherring acted in the manner of an old pro Friday in the City Section individual tennis championships, a real old pro. With a stiff back that hindered his mobility, the Chatsworth High senior looked like a senior citizen when he and Rajeev Datt faced North Hollywood's Natt Narkthong and David Kaiden in the doubles championship.
But it was Kaiden, the only one of the foursome who previously had played for a City championship, who played like an old pro. Kaiden and Narkthong beat the Chancellor duo, 6-2, 6-3, at the Racquet Centre in Universal City for Kaiden's second consecutive doubles title.
"We're an experienced doubles team," Kaiden said. "We played consistent when we had to and they fell apart on the important points. Basically, we played textbook doubles."
Kaiden should know. In addition to the two doubles championships, he placed third in doubles his sophomore season.
And although Kaiden was successful with two other partners, Narkthong was the difference this year.
"This is my best partner. I don't think I would have won it with the others," Kaiden said.
Chatsworth broke Kaiden's serve to start the first game, but North Hollywood won the next four, largely because of Chancellor mistakes.
"After losing the first game, we got a little nervous, but we just played consistent," Kaiden said. "We weren't making mental mistakes."
Instead, they capitalized on Chatsworth's mistakes. Narkthong, a second-team All-City singles player last year, smashed two Chatsworth lobs over the fence and into the back yard of some nearby apartments.
Sherring won his service to close the score to 4-2, but the Huskies took the final two games to win the first set. North Hollywood jumped to a 4-1 lead in the second set and split the last four games to win the match.
"We played really well today," Narkthong said. "Maybe they weren't communicating as well as before, it seemed like they had a hard time."
Sherring tried numerous remedies to relieve the stiffness in his back Thursday night. He iced it for two hours. He stretched. He slept on the floor of his bedroom.
"I thought it was a major factor," Sherring said of his back. "My serving, my ground strokes, whenever I turned . . . It just didn't work."
Sherring was slowed noticeably throughout the match, stopping after many points to stretch his back. He also was slow to get to many of the sideline shots and appeared to have difficulty running back on lobs.
"They played a good game. They just killed us," Sherring said. "It's disappointing. We could have played a lot better."
University's Jason Clark, a sophomore, upset teammate Vince Mackey, a junior who was the top-seeded singles player, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win the singles title.